Graphic designer Alex Walker is pretty aware of himself when it comes down to examining his own creative decisions. “I get bored of my own design reflexes and decisions very easily,” he understands, and as a result of this, parts of his process today involve removing control from decision making. Currently based in Amsterdam, Alex grew up in Shelley, West Yorkshire, of which he recalls an early interest in CD artwork, graffiti, skateboarding and so on; which served as an initial introduction to graphic design. Then, when he enrolled at art college, he came to the realisation, he tells us, “that I prefer the poetry and beauty found in ordinary objects, rather than Fine Art.”
After a long stint of living in Nottingham, he came to The Netherlands to study for a Master’s degree at the Sandberg Institute, and has lived there since. It’s the city’s secondhand book markets and charity shops filled with trinkets that provide much of his inspiration these days. Anything from fruit packaging to a train ticket can be seen as beautiful in its vernacular design, so in this respect, arguably, not much has changed in terms of what inspires Alex from his youth in West Yorkshire.
His eclectic absorption of material is visibly evident in Alex’s portfolio to date. Predominantly print based, his work is contemporary yet clearly accessible, hinting to the elevated design of commonplace objects aforementioned above. “I enjoy making typography and layout systems,” he says on his creative process of purposely removing elements of control. “I will make some initial decisions regarding how the structure works, but then I like to see what happens when it is followed through in a very inflexible way.”
Admiring the compositional quirks that occur as a result of this process, Alex observes any “strange alignments and the friction between different elements.” This serves as a basis for how he approaches a project, and with this in mind, we can admire the playful spacing, interesting type choices and eclectic mix of elements on the pages of Alex’s work. In turn, Alex distils his signature visual language down to this: “I like it when something looks idiosyncratic at first glance, but then after some time, you notice the underlying logic.”